Sunday, 4 September 2016
ADVERTISER POWER YouTube censors demonetised videos
A notable outcry here, as it reinforces one of the fundamental lessons needed to grasp the complexities of media regulation: advertisers form a de facto, informal regulator. If they won't pay for space in your outlet, in most media industries that will lead to a revenue crisis.
Chomsky has advertiser power as one of the five filters in his propaganda model.
The row and resignation over the Daily Telegraph spiking critical stories about HSBC to protect its advertising account with the bank; the 1960s manoeuvres of The Times to get rid of its new working class readers when advertisers refused to pay any extra for these non-ABC1s; Murdoch closing NoTW only when multiple advertiser boycotts were announced, with more to follow after social media campaigns, which threatened to contaminate other News Corp outlets; the fate of the Daily Herald, a left-wing, union owned paper that was for a time the biggest selling in the world, but would ultimately collapse and reappear as Murdoch's right-wing S*n ...
Some of the trashy YouTube content undermined by YouTube withdrawing ads from 'unsuitable' videos may appear trivial, but the principles of freedom of speech and media diversity are always most easily undermined by picking soft targets to establish censorial practices that can then be arbitrarily widened.
YouTube and Facebook, together with their all-important advertisers, exist as largely unregulated behemoths, gaining an ever expanding role in the media landscape. Censorship, whether it comes down to algorithm 'tweaks' or demonetising videos matters as mainstream media's reliance on digital platforms, not least these two, grows.
With more and more low/micro-budget and back catalogue films going online, not least through YouTube, this can also be viewed as an alternative form of regulation to the formal BBFC system.